Great Gatsby Symbolism

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In The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, readers are not only introduced to the hierarchical class differences, but also to the concept of old versus new money, symbolically represented through the depictions of East and West Egg. Both old and new money indulge in a corrupt lifestyle due to their immorality and materialism; however, the old money still believe that those with newly established wealth lack the social graces and tastes to be worthy of their societal status. Fitzgerald uses the symbolism of the green Light, the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg, and Gatsby’s mansion to depict the exclusion of the nouveau-riche from those coming from East Egg. The American Dream provides the new money with an illusion of attaining a lifestyle…show more content…
The green light at the end of Daisy’s dock represents the personification of Gatsby’s dream of repeating the past from Louisville with Daisy. However it also shows his craving for an unobtainable life in high-society, which, as a result of his background he cannot be granted. Gatsby’s desire for these uncurbed wishes is described, “I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light […] his dreams must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it” (Fitzgerald 180). The fact that Gatsby was so hopeful about ‘grasping’ the American dream highlights the powerful meaning it held for him - a life with Daisy similar to the one she shared with Tom, surrounded by acceptance of the upper class. This is shown to be an illusion by Fitzgerald’s statement about his dreams only “seemed so close” when, in reality, they were never farther away. Moreover, Nick also notices that Gatsby did not know that his dream “was already behind him, somewhere back in the vast obscurity beyond the city” (Fitzgerald 180). By stating that Gatsby was not aware of how unimaginably far his dream was, Fitzgerald shows Gatsby’s lack of understanding of the class divide between the old and new money. The symbolic depiction of the green light as Gatsby’s unattainable dream, hindered by the insurmountable class divide, shows the illusion of the American…show more content…
When discussing Daisy’s views, he states,“She was appalled by West Egg” (Fitzgerald 107). Even though Gatsby had the wealth, the grandiose mansion and the fame, it was not enough to those born into status. Nick describes Daisy’s reaction to Gatsby’s party as being “appalled by its raw vigor that chafed under the old euphemisms and by the obtrusive fate that herded its inhabitants along a short-cut from nothing to nothing.” (Fitzgerald 107). Fitzgerald describes how those from old money believe that people like Gatsby, who came from nothing, still are nothing, depicting the new money disregardment towards the ones just entering their exclusive lifestyle. Tom Buchanan also describes Gatsby as a “nobody from nowhere” (Fitzgerald 130), further showing the unacceptance that the nouveau riche face. Through the symbolism of Gatsby’s mansion, and Daisy’s and Tom’s perspective, readers see that the lifestyle of the nouveau riche cannot be accepted by the old money, portraying how unrealistic the American Dream is, and exposing all of its fraudulent and illusive

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